I heard about Bobbi Bensman through the local word, that she used to live in Phoenix and is quite the climber. I remember one Phoenix Bouldering Contest where she signed my score card as a witness after I completed a boulder problem. She and friends were having trouble sending the problem and I jumped in with the fun. Somehow I sent it, and it was by the skin of my teeth. My whole body was shaking from the adrenalin. Bobbi said to me, "Good Job" where afterwards I felt like I was drained and needed to sit down. It was a high enough point problem which put me into second place in my age category. Years later I was never able to get that problem again.
In the early 1990s, Bobbi was in town with a slideshow named "Of Power & Grace." It was at the Los Olivos Senior Center in Phoenix which has nice seating and a stage, and was my first slide show presentation that I attended shown by a Superstar climber. My friends and I were excited to see the show. Upon entering, each person was given a raffle ticket. I love raffle tickets and of course begged for more, but they swooshed me away and said "Go find a seat!" We sat close to the back where the seating was higher up so we had a great view of the show. Bobbi entered and everybody applauded as she introduced herself. I have seen Bobbi Bensman in videos and in magazine pictures, and at this time was getting goosebumps from the crowds applause.
Bobbi started her show, which was two slide projectors that alternated back and forth, and at times, it looked like the climber was moving on film. About one third of the way through the show, one of the slide projectors started to give her problems. The second projector kept insisting on lighting up at the same time as the other, causing the shown slides to overlap. Bobbi worked on fixing the problem, but it was not responding and the same problem kept happening. She eventually turned off the second projector and gave a longer speech as the audience viewed the first projectors images. I still thought the show was great even though we only saw half of the show. I came to the conclusion that it was the best show ever since she gave more history on the individual slides, over what other people saw on her "Of Power & Grace" road trip.
Bobbi continually apologized for the technical difficulties she encountered, and then went into the raffle segment of her show. This is the time where you look at the numbers on your raffle ticket, and then go into prayer service. "God, I need you here, let me win, let me win!" Sometimes closing your eyes helps also in channeling the energy to get your number called. I am still working on new techniques on getting my raffle tickets to be constant winners. The first ticket winner was a girl which appeared to be a friend of Bobbi's. I could tell by the expression on Bobbi's face, her big smile, and then she gave a big hug to the girl and thanked her for being there for her. I went back into the raffle ticket prayer chanting, "Come on God, come on!" And sure enough my number was called. I was the second ticket winner! The smile on my face was bigger than bobbi's as she started to fall into fear as the Marty train was about to hit her. I must have screamed in excitement the whole time as I hastily made it down to the stage.
I won a chalk bag and was very proud of it. Bobbi shook my hand and the whole crowd was laughing at the scene. As I started walking away it dawned on me that I forgot something important. I didn't think that it was fair that the girl received a hug for her ticket win, and I didn't. So after a few steps, I turned back around and exclaimed "You forgot something!" She asked "What?" And thats when I got my big hug! It was funny since everybody after that demanded a hug from Bobbi as well for winning the raffle. It was a fun show!
Bobbi is an amazing climber, and has worked her ass off to achieve her place on the podium! Even in my next life I don't think I could climb as many hard routes as she has accomplished. Street stories claim that one day she sent, Better Eat Your Wheaties V9 at Hueco Tanks. John Sherman exclaimed that no woman can climb V9, so the boulder problem was down rated to V8. Another story was that at a Snowbird Competition in Utah, Bobbi was disgusted on how easy the Woman's Finals route was, where she had already sent it and won the comp. The comp directors smirked at her and then said to jump on the mens finals route, and see if that is hard enough for her. She totally sent the route!
Ever since that slideshow, I have received endless hugs from Bobbi whenever we bump into each other. I make a point of seeing her at the outdoor shows since she is, my hometown Arizona girl.
Rock and Ice magazine #65 page 35 (signed)
Photo by: Bill Hatcher
Climbing magazine cover September/November 1996.
(signed) Photo by: Brian Bailey
Climbing magazine ................ page 53 (signed)
Photo by: Cathy Beloeil
2011 Outdoor Retailers Show, Salt Lake City, UT
Photo by: Nicholas Oxentenko